Two Brothers, Lane Cove

6-8 Burns Bay Rd, Lane Cove, New South Wales

While still under COVID-19 restrictions, Mrs Snot Block & Roll had a necessary appointment at her optometrist in a nearby suburb, so we had an excuse to make a small outing of it, picking up a coffee (for her) and a sweet treat for myself along the way. The normally bustling Lane Cove shopping village was a bit more sparsely populated than usual, with most of the shops and cafes open for business. One of them was Two Brothers Cafe Restaurant, which, while not open for seat-in dining due to the rules, was serving take-away drinks and snacks.

Two Brothers, Lane Cove

In the front window was a tray of vanilla slices!

Vanilla slice: Two Brothers, Lane Cove

With a smiley on the sign, because everyone knows a vanilla slice will make you feel good! Not having had one for so long, the craving was palpable. Mrs SB&R saw the tell-tale signs, and volunteered to get her coffee from here, so we could also grab a vanilla slice to take away.

With the goods secured, we stole away to the nearby Pottery Green park with Canine Snot Block & Roll, who could run around off-leash while I sat on a log to inspect the loot.

Vanilla slice: Two Brothers, Lane Cove

It looks good! Super flaky pastry, which almost has the appearance of filo rather than puff pastry, on the top layer, with a middle and bottom stratum of pastry looking a bit more compressed but still promising many flaky sub-layers. In between are sandwiched two thick and rich looking slabs of custard, a rich yellow colour, with puckering from contact with the cake knife that sliced it apart from its custardy neighbours, and also from where a cradling layer of plastic film was wrapped around the bottom to maintain the shape. The top is generously sprinkled with fine icing sugar, enough to powder a ski resort. The whole thing is a little taller than it is wide, making a generous serving.

Vanilla slice: Two Brothers, Lane Cove

Eating it turns out to be very messy. The middle layers of custard and pastry slide out and spread all over the place as bite pressure is applied. The pastry is disappointingly a bit soft – it has a core of al dente bite to it, but no real snap or crunch. The flakes are not nice sharp shards, but merely a distinguishment of puffy pastry layers that remain in a single piece until bitten through.

The custard on the other hand is gorgeous. Velvety smooth mouthfeel, with a deep and rich vanilla custard flavour. It’s really good. The combination is delicious, with the icing sugar adding a hint of extra sweetness to top it off, and the pastry gives enough of a texture contrast to make it an overall pleasant mouthful with each sloppy, messy bite. Custard flops everywhere and falls onto the paper bag, and mountains of icing sugar spray all over the place – hands, arms, shirt, trousers, shoes, the grass. After eating this I need to wash my hands. And clothes. And clean my shoes. And have a shower. But it’s worth it – really, really scrumptious. If only the pastry was crisper it could earn a 9, but the sogginess will stop it reaching that height.

Vanilla slice: 8/10

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